RIOT OF STORM AND SMOKE
(Threats of Sky and Sea series, Book #2)
War draws closer, like a tide to the shore.
Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium– the kingdom she’s just learned is hers.
But with the King’s ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.
The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.
It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King’s strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won’t let her kingdom down without a fight.
We leave the body in the tunnel, and I try not to imagine my father lying there, alone and rotting away.
My hands skim the rough stone walls of the tunnel, and I dodge worried glances from Aleta and Tregle, flinching away from the flickering flames in their hands. Both of them Fire Torchers, they light our way through dust and dirt. I don’t go too near them. I can’t—not right now. The memory of fire consuming the room around me while trapped inside with a madwoman who wanted me dead is too fresh.
The air is thick as we descend beneath the castle. We’re quiet, partly to avoid detection by the guards, who are surely still tearing the halls apart in their quest to find us. Our footsteps echo softly in the dark, scritch-scratching along the smooth stone ground. I’m silent for a different reason: I don’t trust that when my mouth opens, a sob won’t escape. Dragging myself away from Da—leaving him behind like yesterday’s trash, the knife wound in his chest caked with dried blood—it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. My eyes sting with the salt left behind by tears, but I force my mouth to settle into an emotionless line.
Da’s not all I left behind. Two sets of gray eyes haunt my thoughts.
Prince Caden came back for us after the initial search died down, arms laden with clothes, sacks of food, a bit of coin, and jewels for trade. My eyes met his for the scantest of seconds before I had to look away.
Come with us, a distant part of me implored. My hand was still warm from the knife he’d pressed into it when we took shelter in the hidden tunnel.
Stay away from me, the other part of me—the louder part—snarled. My first instinct about Caden when I’d met him in a jail cell had been right. His sort courts trouble, whether or not they mean to.
Maybe Caden saw some of that tumult in me because his voice was soft when he spoke. “Look for The Soused Turkey pub,” he instructed. I kept my eyes locked on a shadow that Aleta’s flames sent dancing against the wall. “It’s a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, but the barkeep there’s a good man. Clift. Tell him…” He hesitated. “Tell him Rick sent you.”
Rick? He wants us to use his alias? My eyes snapped to his. I’d thought it was a joke, told to me in those first moments in the cell with Da to pretend away his problems as the crown prince. With my eyes on his, it was like he couldn’t help himself. He reached toward me until I shrank away.
The small movement was enough. His hand fell back to his side, and he left with the facsimile of a smile, wishing us well.
“Be safe, Bree.”
I trudge on, the echo of his voice melding with the cacophony of flames in my memory.
The other set of gray eyes that press into me belongs to Caden’s father, King Langdon of Egria. My fist clenches, nails digging into my palm. The king waits in his comfortable throne room as he sets to conquer any nations he can get his greedy hands on.
My vengeance waits with him.
What a fascinating world Jennifer Ellison has built! I relished being swept away into the dramatic journey of Bree and her friends. After what she goes through with her Da in Threats of Sea and Sky, you would think the poor girl could catch a break but that is not the case. In Riot of Storm and Smoke the hunt is on and the battle between doing the right thing for all and the safe thing for herself rages within our young friend. Bree becomes so much stronger even than before, and I appreciated the maturity she exhibits even when under so much pressure. I think often teens get a bad rap for being utterly unable to be level headed, but in a fantasy world where younger folks are expected to have much more responsibility than we would expect today, it makes so much more sense. Gorgeously written with a flare for detail and a dramatic spin or two, Riot of Storm and Smoke is sure to become a beloved piece of fantastic literature on the shelves of young and old alike. 4.5 stars!
Jennifer Ellison spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.
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